Sony reveals video MiniDisc format

Coming in January, a camcorder that stores on video MDs

Sony had developed a new storage media for digital camcorders based on its audio MiniDisc format.

The new MD Data2 media, which is called MD View (MMD-650A), holds 650MB of rewritable memory. Developed for video storage, MD View offers many of the functions of MD audio media, including instant random access playback, simple editing features and digital recording. The first product to take advantage of the new format will be the MD Discam camcorder, due to launch in the US in January.

The MD Discam, which will retail for $2,299 (£1400), records up to 20 minutes of video, up to 4,500 still images in the MPEG2 file format, and over four hours of recorded audio with three digital still images in the Interview Mode. It delivers over 400 lines of horizontal resolution.

The new format means that the camera gives users the intuitive editing tools and instant random access found on MD audio players, Sony claims. The Scene Shuffle feature allows on-the-spot editing, with on-screen controls for playing, copying, moving, trimming or erasing scenes. It comes with a stylus to operate the on-screen controls or to add notes, drawings or clip-art graphics to movies.

As with audio MD, the MD Discam allows playback of scenes in a variety of ways including repeat play, shuffle and nine-frame sequence. Another new feature is the Crystal Clear Slow Motion Playback function, which gives frame-by-frame viewing of video sequences.

As MD View is an extension of the audio format, MD audio discs can be played in the camera unit, with the details of the artists' name and track displayed in the LCD.